Unfortunately, in Greece statistics is a combat sport

The Financial Times reports that Andreas Georgiou, the head of the independent Greek statistical agency Elstat, is facing a criminal investigation for allegedly inflating the scale of the country’s fiscal crisis and “acting against the Greek national interest.” Georgiou, who worked at the International Monetary Fund for 20 years, was appointed in 2010 by agreement … Read more

Where will the new capital come from?

Writing in Thursday’s Financial Times, Pimco chief executive and chief investment officer Mohamed El-Erian argues that Europe’s first order of business should be to recapitalize its banks. It is hard to argue with this prescription.  With the finances of Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy in dire straits and banks across the continent up to their … Read more

Glenn Hubbard ignores some inconvenient facts

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal about how to reduce government spending, Columbia University economist and former chairman of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors R. Glenn Hubbard chooses to disregard some important facts. According to Hubbard, “President Obama’s answer is higher taxes.” Well, not exactly.  What President Obama proposed was a combination of … Read more

Send in the technocrats!

Winston Churchill said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried. The financial crisis has tested Churchill’s assertion. In Greece, the austerity measures imposed on the country by the EU and the ensuing domestic unrest led Prime Minister George Papandreou to call for a referendum to … Read more

Penny wise and pound foolish

The institutions of government and the politicians who run them have–rightly–been criticized for many mistakes during the past few years.   The Congressional budget deadlock this past summer is a case in point.  The mismanagement at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, first publicized by the Washington Post in 2007, is another. No wonder why Gallup reports … Read more